Library of Congress Bicentennial: 1800-2000
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Libraries, Creativity, Liberty

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May 30, 2000
Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

New Web Site for Kids and Families Registers More Than 6 Million 'Hits' Since Debut

"America's Library" Debuted on Bicentennial of Library as "A Better Way to Have Fun with History"

America's Library (, a new Web site for children and families, has handled 6.5 million transactions since its debut on April 24, the 200th birthday of the Library of Congress.

"The Library of Congress is gratified that its newest Web site has been met with such an enthusiastic response," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "America's Library plays an important role in fulfilling the Library's mission of making its collections as accessible as possible to people of all ages."

The site has also received praise from the press: "Discover a delightful Web space -- a colorful exploration about our colorful past," said The Washington Post. And USA Today called America's Library "a fun way to meet amazing Americans, explore the states and jump back in time."

Through the use of stories, richly embellished with photographs, maps, prints, manuscripts, and audio and video recordings from the Library's collections, America's Library invites users to learn about their past through extraordinary, at times idiosyncratic, materials, many of which have never been seen by the public. Interactive elements such as a "Scavenger Hunt" and "Send a Postcard" encourage exploration of the site, and animated "teasers" on the main home page will delight users of all ages. Questions invite children to talk to their family and friends about what they have learned.

Bold graphics and bright colors entice users to click on the following main home page links: "Meet Amazing Americans," "Jump Back in Time," "Explore the States," "Join America at Play" and "See, Hear and Sing."

The site will be publicized through advertisements on television, radio and the Internet. America's Library marks the first time in its history that the Library of Congress has created a public service advertising campaign in partnership with the Advertising Council. This campaign -- "There Is a Better Way to Have Fun with History ... Log On. Play Around. Learn Something" -- was created through the Advertising Council, with creative services donated by DDB Worldwide in Chicago. The spots will be distributed to 3,200 television stations and more than 6,000 radio stations nationwide and will begin airing in June. In addition to television and radio spots, an innovative Web banner featuring a pop-up film will be available for viewing and downloading through the Ad Council Web site at

The Advertising Council is a private, nonprofit organization that has been the leading producer of public service communications programs in the United States since 1942. The Council supports campaigns that benefit children, families and communities. The communications programs are national in scope and have generated strong, measurable results. Ad Council campaigns, such as "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk," "Take A Bite Out of Crime," and "A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste," have helped to save lives and resources, to educate the public about issues and concerns of the day and to make America a healthier country in which to live. In 1998, Ad Council campaigns received more than $1 billion in donated media time and space.

DDB Chicago is the largest of the DDB agencies worldwide, with more than 750 employees and 1999 billings of $1.2 billion. The agency works for a strong roster of blue-chip clients such as Anheuser-Busch, Energizer, FTD, General Mills, Lands' End, McDonald's, Sara Lee, State Farm and U S West Communications.

GlobalCenter Inc., a Global Crossing company and leading Internet services business, will host America's Library beginning this summer. GlobalCenter will donate the hardware and Internet services necessary to support the complex Web hosting needs of the site. In addition, GlobalCenter will provide continuing system support and weekly statistical reports to the Library of Congress on the Web site's usage and performance.

America's Library was designed by 415 Productions Inc. of San Francisco. 415 Inc. is a full-service Web development firm providing custom online solutions that combine integrated strategy, cutting-edge technology, creative design and innovative user experiences. From Fortune 500 enterprises to internationally recognized arts organizations and upstart dot-coms, 415's clients include Hewlett-Packard, McGraw-Hill, Macromedia, Credit Suisse, the Library of Congress, 3Com, Fairmont Hotels, Hasbro, Intel, Lego and Providian Financial.

The content of the Web site has been reviewed by historians in the Library of Congress as well as by Distinguished University Professor of American history James B. Gilbert at the University of Maryland.

America's Library is a project of the Library of Congress's Public Affairs Office and the National Digital Library Program. By the end of 2000, the flagship American Memory collections ( will offer more than 5 million historically important items, in collaboration with other institutions. More than 70 American Memory collections are now available in topics ranging from presidential papers and photographs from the Civil War, to early films of Thomas Edison and panoramic maps, to documents from the women's suffrage and civil rights movements.

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PR 00-085
ISSN 0731-3527